Becoming a Physical Therapist

Physical Therapists specialize in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of physical therapy, commonly known as PT. Physical therapists can treat muscle injuries, chronic physical conditions, and patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Physical therapy professionals work under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor to perform various physical therapy exercises. In addition, there are physical therapy specialists who provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative services and can perform diagnostic imaging or blood tests.

The diagnostic procedures include diagnostic imaging such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scan, or ultrasound and blood tests to measure bone density, muscular strength, and blood flow. Blood tests used to measure the intensity of stress hormones in the body and determine the cause of the patient’s physical condition is called the cortisol test. Once the cause is determined, PT therapists would then provide therapy that specifically addresses the specific physical challenge.

Physical therapy professionals may use techniques such as strength training, stretching exercises, balance, and coordination activities, balance therapy, relaxation techniques, natural therapy, or massage. Physical therapists may also use electrotherapy, electrical stimulation, weights, mirrors, or ultrasonic devices to help patients achieve joint range of motion, flexibility, and strength. There are also exercise programs designed to improve athletic performance, recuperation time or rehabilitation following a surgical procedure. Some physical therapy programs are supervised by chiropractors or other specialists to address musculoskeletal issues. Therapists also use techniques such as massage, stretching, exercise, hot packs, and cold compresses to help patients to correct various types of physical problems. Physical therapy professionals may also provide patients with nutritional advice on diet and nutrition.

A physical therapist has to undergo several training courses and obtain certification before they can practice. Physical therapy is generally divided into specialized fields depending on the equipment, medical knowledge, and skill required for each specialty. Physical Therapists specializing in pediatrics specialties work with children and treat conditions such as orthopedic fractures, sports injuries, sprains, strains, and related disorders. A physical therapist working in a sports medicine setting is responsible for treating acute injuries, acute ligament injuries, and traumatic injuries that occur in contact sports. A physical therapist working in the geriatric setting is responsible for treating and preventing disability among elderly individuals.

If you are interested in a career as a physical therapist, it is important to obtain formal education and certification. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your state’s Department of Education to find out the specific requirements for your particular field. Once you have completed your education and passed the appropriate licensing exam, you will need to become a Certified Physical Therapist to practice. Physical therapy programs offer many coursework opportunities, including college courses, workshops, and internships, so you will have a variety of learning options available to you. You can also choose to continue your education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy, which will provide you with even more specialization and increased salary potential.

Specialized Physical Therapists Specialists in Philadelphia often find themselves in leadership roles, as they are usually involved in clinical or research activities. In most states, it is required that licensed physical therapists have continuing education credits every two years or so. This requirement is intended to ensure that physical therapy professionals are always up to date on the latest medical knowledge and that they are competent to give advice to their clients regarding a wide range of medical conditions. Continuing education credits will also make it easier for physical therapists to keep abreast of changes in the laws that apply to the practice of physical therapy, so it is very important to check with your state’s Department of Education and your state board of licensing. By participating in continuing education programs, physical therapy professionals will be better able to serve their clients and prevent them from suffering unnecessarily.